FCRD is my family and has been there for me for the highest and lowest moments in my life.
Photo Credits: (left) Phil Peterson. (right) Kate Wood Raclin
Long Road to Recovery
with Pippi Strongblocking
Fountain City Roller Derby
How long have you been skating? I started skating when I was about 5 years old. There was a long break between 14 and 27 when I started playing derby.
How did you pick your derby name? Nothing fancy about my name, I narrowed it down to three options, Lady Tatas, Pope John Brawl and Pippi Strongblocking. I let my friends vote and Pippi won.
What has been the highlight of your derby career? The first year I was a Shotgun Sheila, which was my full second season playing. My first year this team was known as the Fearleaders and the majority of the team quit after our record was 1-6. We only had six skaters to start with on my team and no coach. The six of us pulled together and got three coaches and a full roster. The Sheilas went on to win every single game that season, and ended the season as undefeated league champions.
What does being a Fountain City member mean to you? I have been a part of the league currently known as FCRD for almost five years. Over that time I have watch league of 30 some girls evolve into a league of almost 150 skaters and 10 teams. It as been a lot of work and time to get to where we are today and I am so proud to be part of the largest league in the US. As on of the owners I have taken a lot of pride in making sure this is a place for skaters to really enjoy and to feel like they have a derby family. FCRD is my family and has been there for me for the highest and lowest moments in my life. I LOVE FCRD!
What is your favorite aspect of M.A.D.E.? I love the role of the pivot position and I like the fast pace that it moves.
What's your signature move? I had to defer to one of my teammates to answer this one and here is what she said, “Can-opener, hands down. (I think Bomb Pop calls it the "Oh no you didn't!") You swing by, making the skater think you missed, then you use your momentum to cut back and effing rock their head of their block. People still talk about this move. You did it ALL the time my rookie season, just plain annihilating people!! This is why people will fear you until the end of time.” I responded to her with, flattery will get you everywhere.
What is your favorite drill/thing to practice? and why? We call it the waterfall drill. Five cones are placed about 10-ft apart starting at the top of the apex, and working around the outside of the track. Line 1 is the jammer, line 2 is the jammer helper and the next three lines are blockers. On the whistle one person from each line takes off, they wall up, and hold back the jammer and jammer helper. This is a great drill to work on jammer agility and making holes, plus it forces the blockers to work as a team to stop the jammer from getting through and practice game like communication.
M.A.D.E. Nationals are coming up this October. Will you be participating? Yes I am, I will be playing for the Mash-up Team from FCRD. I am so excited for the first MADE Nationals.
Playing Roller Derby isn't easy. Do you have any words of advice for novice skaters? Skate as much as you can and work on a solid derby stance. You cannot do enough squats! Also, when you work on hitting remember to hit with your whole body and not just your shoulders.
What non-derby related hobbies do you have? I enjoy mountain biking, clay shooting and Chiefs football.
How has your road back to derby been after being treated for breast cancer?
I only have one surgery left to finish my reconstruction, which will be after Nationals on November 7th. The road has been so much longer then I expected, but the end is in sight. In July I was able to start skating again and I was released for full contact. For seven weeks I skated, ran or worked out everyday to try and get some of my strength and endurance back. I was able to play in the championship game with my team, the Shotgun Sheilas, on August 16th. It had been 15 months since I had played a game with my team, and even though it was hard and demanding the feeling of finally conquering cancer was all I could feel when the final whistle blew and my team rejoiced as the 2014 champs of Fountain City.
How did your teammates support you during your road to recovery?
I don’t think of the skaters on my team as teammates, but instead sisters, family. My Sheilas gave me the strength to keep fighting and constantly helped me emotionally. However, it was really the entire Fountain City league that supported me and helped me win this war. They did several fundraisers to help me pay my doctor bills. They would bring my dinner and drive me to doctor’s appointments. I had the best support group a girl could ask for and I love my team and my league more then they will ever understand.